Thursday 23 November 2017

22 diagnosed with measles in Kerry 'after infectious person travelled on flight from Dublin'

Public health warning

The measles virus spreads very easily
The measles virus spreads very easily
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

PRECAUTIONS have been called for by public health doctors after 22 cases of measles have been confirmed in Kerry.

The outbreak has been linked to a case in April when an infectious person travelled on a flight from Dublin to the county.

Kerry University Hospital- which has not treated a patient with measles in several years, has appealed to people not to bring children to the hospital as visitors.

If someone has suspected measles they should also not attend their GP surgery but instead ask for  a home visit.

The hospital’s emergency consultant Martin Boyd said measles are very contagious.

No serious complications in the fifteen cases recorded so far in Kerry have emerged.

Earlier this month, the HSE public health departments and the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) said they were  investigating an ongoing measles outbreak in different parts of Ireland.

Outbreak control teams have been convened in HSE East, South and Midwest.  Nineteen measles cases linked to the outbreak had been identified to date, of which 13 are confirmed and six are probable.

All cases have occurred in individuals under 30 years of age, with most cases occurring in the 15-19 year age group.

It is believed that the source of infection most likely came from another European country where measles outbreaks are occurring. 

Most of those who have been infected as a result of this outbreak did not know that they had been in contact with measles.   It is also known that most had not received the MMR (Measles- Mumps- Rubella) vaccine.

In drawing particular attention to this outbreak, the HSE, according to Dr Kevin Kelleher, Consultant in Public Health said they were “looking to raise public awareness around the signs and symptoms of the condition and ensure that anyone with concerns addresses them immediately in order to receive a rapid diagnosis.  This in turn allows the HSE HPSC Public Health teams to be fully responsive and in a position to implement all necessary control measures.”  

Dr Kelleher stressed that “measles is highly infectious, and if cases are isolated early, the risk of transmission to vulnerable individuals decreases.  The time between exposure to the virus and developing measles rash is normally 14 days (range 7-21 days).  People are infectious from 4 days before rash starts until 4 days after.”

People who are fully vaccinated with two doses of MMR vaccine are normally protected. Those most at risk are those who are not fully vaccinated with two doses of MMR, babies (younger than 12 months so too young to be vaccinated), and those with weakened immune systems if exposed.

Measles symptoms include:High fever, cough, runny nose, red eyes, and a red rash that starts on head and spread down the body- this normally starts a few days after onset of illness

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